Here’s hoping sophisticated 4- and 5-year-olds, who sometimes feel too grown-up for board books, do not dismiss it and miss...

THE COUNTRYSIDE GAME

From the Let's Play Games! series

The king of interactive picture books (I Am Blop!, 2013, etc.) takes a sideways view of board books.

The cover holds a die-cut window giving readers a preview of what is to come. Once open, the page layout changes to a landscape orientation, and readers flip shaped pages for a wordless adventure through the sunny countryside. In Tullet’s cheerily colored, childlike cartoon style, the journey includes a visit to a small cluster of trees, an encounter with a happy couple out for stroll, a stop at a farmhouse and a view of a mountain range, ending with an ocean vista. When the book is flipped over, readers can retrace their steps, this time at night. It’s an enchanting, quietly instructive (if short) journey. It should be noted that a fine-print warning declaring it inappropriate for children under 36 months due to “small parts” (presumably mountain peaks and other die-cut elements detached by energetic use) appears on the back, but, fortunately, the construction and content of both books make them more appropriate for the over-3 set regardless.

Here’s hoping sophisticated 4- and 5-year-olds, who sometimes feel too grown-up for board books, do not dismiss it and miss out on the playful fun within.  (Board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 5, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7148-6074-9

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Phaidon

Review Posted Online: April 10, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2013

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The flat ending is disappointing for a group of characters who could have exhibited a rousing rhythmic finale.

LOST AND FOUND, WHAT'S THAT SOUND?

Just before showtime, the animals in the band must search for their instruments in the lost and found by their identifying sounds.

A mouse happily claims the trumpet after a congenial-looking rabbit clerk produces a bicycle horn, trumpet, and toy train in response to a request for an instrument that makes a “Toot! Toot! Toot!” sound. Similarly a beaver retrieves the triangle from an assortment of things that make a “Ding! Ding! Ding!” sound. An elephant and a squirrel find their piano and drum, and the band reassembles, led by their conductor, a bat. The animals’ questions are phrased in rhyming couplets: “The thing I lost goes Plink! Plank! Plunk! I play it with my big, long trunk,” explains the elephant. The simple, black-outlined cartoons against a white or pale yellow background extend the narrative so that readers are expected to discern objects with their corresponding sounds. The rabbit offers the elephant first a piggy bank (“Plink!”), then a flowerpot full of water (“Plank!”), and then a comically tiny piano (“Plunk!”). Unfortunately, as the band comes together, their meager performance reflects the bareness of this storyline. The bat ends the search and exclaims, “You found my things! They sound so grand. / One, two, three— // let’s hit it, band! / Toot! Ding! Plunk! Boom!”

The flat ending is disappointing for a group of characters who could have exhibited a rousing rhythmic finale. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 13, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-238068-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

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Another snowy day book, but not special enough to recall Keats’ masterpiece.

WINTER IS FOR SNOW

A paean to wintertime and especially its snowy weather, this picture book fails to match the achievement of the many others that deal with this popular theme.

The child pictured in the jacket art is an unabashed lover of all things winter, and in rhyming text, he extols the season’s virtues to his curmudgeonly younger sister. Her responses (also rhyming) resist his enthusiastic praise of snowball fights, skating and the beauty of snowflakes “glittering like diamond dust.” Since the book ends up being about her eventual, grudging warming up to wintertime, it’s curious that she doesn’t appear on the cover, and her change of heart seems rather abrupt, reading; “Winter is for all these things? / Is it really so? / Winter might not be so bad. // Winter is for SNOW!” Such pat lines are par for the course in the text, which isn’t so much a story as it is a list. Illustrations show greater achievement, particularly in scenes depicting many characters milling about a snowy city landscape, evoking an animationlike flair.

Another snowy day book, but not special enough to recall Keats’ masterpiece. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 29, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4231-7831-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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